Meet the candidate: Mark Sweadner for Frederick County executive

Sweadner

Mark Sweadner is a candidate for Frederick County executive. The primary election is June 24.

Why are you running for office? 

I have become very disappointed with the decision-making of the current BOCC (Board of County Commissioners), as well as previous boards. All of my competitors for the position of county executive have had their opportunity in office to do what is best for the citizens, but in my opinion, they have not done a very good job. They have not represented the citizens of this county, which I will do if elected your county executive. They have only represented special interest groups at an extreme cost to the taxpayer both currently and more importantly for many years to come. Examples of this include out-of-control residential growth, support of an incinerator, proposed sale of Citizens Care and Rehabilitation and Montevue Assisted Living nursing homes, Tax Incremental Financing (TIFs), long-term Developer Rights and Responsibility Agreements, and above all, excessive taxation to support these ill-conceived ideas. The citizens of Frederick County need an immediate change.

As the first Frederick County executive, how would you build a positive working relationship with the county council? How would you engage the community in the transition to charter government? 

I have always been able to work with all types of people. A positive working relationship with the county council would be built by regular meetings and two-way exchange of information. ... I would appoint a contact person to deal with questions from our citizens regarding the transition to charter government. I would also have our public information officer write news releases to the local media to help explain this transition to our community.

Describe your views on the county’s long-term waste disposal needs. As executive, would you support building a waste-to-energy incinerator? If not, what would be your preferred alternative? 

Slowing down residential growth will help tremendously with both short- and long-term waste disposal needs. ... The current method of utilizing our transfer station and hauling the waste out of county is working fine. I am totally opposed to building a waste-to-energy incinerator based upon several factors — namely, 1) not a cost-effective solution to this issue, 2) problems associated with ash disposal, 3) necessity to burn over a million tires a year for heat generation causing environmental pollution, 4) excessive use of water for the incinerator, 5) bringing in unknown out-of-county waste to meet required capacity, 6) increased cost to the taxpayer by paying for the builders debt service included in the Energy Recovery Fee, 7) flawed financial analysis to make this option appear viable. My preferred alternative would be to build a materials recycling facility thus creating jobs or partner with Carroll County with their Resource Recovery Park.

Do you think the county should sell Citizens Care and Rehabilitation Center and Montevue Assisted Living? 

I am strongly opposed to the sale of CCRC and MAL. Frederick County has a moral and ethical responsibility to keep the facilities based upon the authorization by the Maryland General Assembly in 1826 for Frederick to purchase land for the benefit of the poor. ... The resolution authorizing the sale is flawed with the financial information ... in order to support the current board’s agenda. These costs are overstated by $9 million. The county just recently constructed a new facility for these two nursing homes at a cost in excess of $37.5 million as of May 16, 2013. This doesn’t even include any value for the land. Who would make an arm’s length transaction to sell this property for $30 (million) and pay another $10.7 million to Aurora to boot?

How would you manage the county budget?

I am going to manage the county budget the same way I am managing my own budget, which is being extremely frugal. The wasteful spending of your tax dollars must stop. Taxes made up over 92 percent of the General Fund revenues last fiscal year, or over $405 million in these two taxes. You can thank a previous BOCC president running for county executive for increasing your local income taxes by 16 percent. 

I am going to reduce extravagant costs related to fringe benefits received by county employees and refund this back to the taxpayer who has been footing this bill. In fiscal year 2013, the taxpayer was paying in excess of $22,000 for each county employee for health and retirement. Total cost for these two benefits exceeded $39 million in FY 13. 

The FY 14 Adopted Operating Budget for the board of education was $532 million. Salaries and benefits make up approximately 87 percent of this budget. ... Detailed analysis needs to be made of these fringe benefits as has been made regarding county employees prior to answering whether or not I would support funding county public schools above the maintenance of effort.

What would you do as executive to draw businesses and jobs into the county? 

The function of bringing new businesses and jobs to our county rests jointly with our Department of Business Development and Retention and the county executive. I will work closely with DBDR in setting goals in promoting our county to prospective new businesses. We have a lot to offer to new businesses here in Frederick County and that should be the only enticement that is necessary for them to move to Frederick County.

What would be your plan for making sure school construction, road improvements and public safety services keep pace with an growing county population? 

These items would be planned for in the Capital Improvements Program for capital costs and in the General Fund for the operating cost only after it has been determined that the area has adequate facilities to support the proposed growth. The Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance needs to dictate when growth can occur without exceptions. This is the way it was previously but has been changed to allow development to occur when facilities are not adequate by paying a mitigation fee. This certainly doesn’t solve the inadequacy of these facilities — it only makes them worse.

(22) comments

backroomfrederick

Putting your words in writing and understanding the facts. Thank you Mark. Blaine says nothing just grunts, insults and changes the topic. Stands for nothing really. Just bombards rhythmic party lines and counts developer donations. BIG BROOM IN JUNE!

kjswartz

I wouldn't worry about competition - it has a way of vetting the candidates and strives for a better choice, or, at the very least, demonstrates the shortcomings of the worst candidate should they win at the polls.

The numbers shows Blaime and his ghettoization crew aren't going to fare very well.

1) not very many supporters are writing letters to the editor, nor are they commenting here on the message boards. There are some prolific posters, sure, but President444 has stopped participating, and others such as GirlPolitic have evolved their views.

2) it is a well known fact that Blaime Young has not been successful turning out his base at public meetings, even when he accuses his opponents of "'stacking the deck"'. The first rule of politics is that optics matter, and turning down a 100-to-1 ratio of participants into a defeat of the majority of participants makes his crew look WEAK. The best approach would have been to table the motion, then press his supporters to show up as the majority in the next meeting.

3) approachability. There's a mayor in New Jersey that is approachable and even encourages the public to use social media, so that his government can respond and right-size government services. It's that public participation thing all over again. Blaime Young uses 1950s era broadcasting as the public square, and arrives at true public meetings thinking he knows all the facts. But when you look at Sweadner actually showing up at WTE meetings, or David Gray's very excellent attempts to be where most people congregate to discuss problems and public issues. I think it's a two person race, and Blaime Young will be left with exactly the same supporters he always had...

Members of a entertainment AM radio show.

catcher

I wish there weren't three people running. Blaine could skate because of that.

jerseygrl42

Mark, you hit it out of the park...and your commentary on the incinerator is superb.....you know more about it than the woman who signed the deal , Jan and the 5 clowns currently in office , one of whom thinks water vapor is what will go up the 270' stack...shreve and most of all the not so special ass. marschner who still believes the tax payers are not on the hook to pay back the debt...what a clarabell at $71 per hour....please keep beating the drums about this $3 Billion boondoggle and the rest of the transgressions this group of MT suits has committed...we do need a person of integrity in this office and as far as I can see you are the one and only with that trait...the rest are feeding at the public trough

n01fu

Is this the candidate who is not accepting campaign contributions, but borrowed money from his spouse to use instead? Does he not have any of his own money to use?

girlpolitic

"You can thank a previous BOCC president running for county executive for increasing your local income taxes by 16 percent." Just for clarification that was Jan Gardner.

SaveFrederick

Not so. The Gardner Board did not raise taxes.

Boyce Rensberger

The Gardner board did not raise taxes. Moreover, its net increase in spending over four years was about $2 million.

The Young board, which did raise taxes (on home owners in Thurmont, Walkersville, Lewistown, Sabillasville, Middletown, Brunswick, Mt. Airy and surrounding areas), ballooned spending such that this year it is spending $42 million more than in its first year.

And ithe Young board will be leaving the county with a deficit of $30 million. The Gardner board left office with a $12 million surplus.

girlpolitic

Please clarify, under which board did the piggyback income tax get raised. I posed the question hoping that Mark would provide the information. It is obvious from his writing that it had to be Jan or David. Since all commissioners have the same basic vote standing Jan and David had to vote for it. Mr. Sweadner please clarify your statement.

BenD

If their vote totals exceed Blaine's in the primary, take heart because he will have no chance in the general.

BstD59

I foresee Republicans splitting their votes between Mark and David and the end result will be Young will end up winning the nomination. Young is counting on it.

Should this happen then I urge everyone to vote for Jan Gardner in the General Election.

kjswartz

IF it should come to that, then Mark should team with David Gray to compete for write-in votes for Executive and At Large offices.

Blaime Young for the mess we are in and vote the ungrateful RINOs OUT!

n01fu

$22,000 per employee sounds like a lot, but in reality isn't too far off what is being spent elsewhere. Their medical coverage really isn't extravagant, and a lot of county employees are just getting by.

jgrose79

This guy is a fake. He is about as republican as David Gray. Will he a spend and tax liberal.

BenD

Blaine really has made people dumber. All governments tax and spend, even the current one. That's how they pay for things like roads, police and sewer. These things don't just rain from heaven. If you'd like, you could argue that Mr. Sweadner is promoting such and such and you don't think it's worthy. Then we could have a discussion.

kjswartz

Jgrose hates competition, and hates that Blaime Young has to explain himself before an angry electorate.

Tough beans!

SaveFrederick

Blaine Young is the big tax and spender. He raised property taxes (even after the itty bitty election year cut of a couple of weeks ago) and he spends, spends, spends. Blaine Young is responsible for the most spending in the history of Frederick County and the largest size of county government.

jerseygrl42

no clue grose...

armillary

Mark, I'd be voting for you if there wasn't already a tried and true, experienced candidate running in the Republican primary. I'm voting for David Gray.

kjswartz

I'm on the fence, but, still, please Mark, continue to speak out and make our candidates sweat buckets. It's refreshing to find a well-balanced Republican.

As for raising taxes - its a done-deal. Blaime Young has destroyed our fiscal solvency even after selling off two school buildings for $200,000,000 ehich are to be converted into office buildings.

The original taxes should be restored and adjusted to fully fund their departments. Call it "fair pay for fair access".

Entertainment & Hotel Taxes should be reinstituted as well at their original levels, and used to fund the Visitor's Center, all the monuments sites, and boost local tourism.

$20,000 Tax leins should be placed against the new developments' properties, in accordance with Blaime Young's figures, and whatever balance should be called "'Blaime Young's Tax On Frederick County"'.

Schools should be placed on a schedule to retire ALL their portables. Portables should be a last recourse, and only used AFTER ground has been broken for new schools. A wonderful promise would be that - on day one - 1/4 of all portables will be retired, and - on the hundredth day - ground for a new school will be broken. Make it a promise that results in larger class sizes, for the short term, but brings our schools back into balance in the long run.

jerseygrl42

waste of a vote...gray is the past , Mark is the future

fourstoogesandthatotherguy_the

This guy could say that he was a disciple of Adolph Hitler and I'd still trust him more than I do Moe Young.

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